The carpenter ant is a species found in most countries across the world and many states in the US. The ant gets its name from its unique ‘carpentry skills’ that involve drilling artistic holes in softwood in a bid to find a place to live.
Although carpenter ants are sometimes confused with termites, they do not eat wood but excavate it to make living quarters. In this regard, carpenter ants can easily turn out to be a problem for home owners due to the potential damage they can cause to the furniture in the house.
How to identify carpenter ants
It’s easy to identify carpenter ants as they are larger than other ants in general with the size ranging from a quarter an inch to three-quarter inches depending on what they do in the colony and the food they eat. Carpenter ants are oval or segmented in shape, have six legs, have antennae and are usually black or red. Carpenter ants can be identified easily by categorizing them into two main groups.
The carpenter ant workers
In a colony, the ant workers are the most likely to invade your house as their duties include searching for food for the larvae and the Queen as well as defending the colony. They naturally vary in size but expect them to be somewhere between a quarter an inch and half an inch in length. Due to the nature of their job, they are the majority in a colony.
The carpenter ant swarmers
These are more abundant ants that can easily be distinguished by their size and the presence of wings. They are larger than the carpenter ant workers with a length of approximately an inch. The swarmers leave the colony to form another colony meaning if you spot one of these around your home, the chances are that a colony is living nearby.
Carpenter ant behavior
Carpenter ants are known to attack wet wood, moldy wood or wood that has been damaged by water. Although they like to attack decaying or wet wood, they would quickly show interest in your expensive furniture. Carpenter ants are hard to control as they can get into your house using any available style including but not limited to crawling along wires/cables, trees that are very close to the house, open windows, holds or cracks around the doors and windows.
Why are they in my house?
Carpenter ants’ natural habitat is outdoors but are pushed into invading people’s houses in search of food and water. They usually survive very well in places where there are woody things such as stumps, unattended wood, landscaping, and firewood. However, since they need a constant supply of water, they will always try to look for it in your house. How do they know you have water in the house? Wet or damaged wood guides them.
Do carpenter ants bite?
Carpenter ants only bite in self-defense. Although the bite is not infectious, it might contain formic acid which brings about a burning sensation in the area affected. In case you are allergic to acids, you might want to see the doctor. Otherwise, carpenter ants do not cause infections as they aren’t venomous and don’t sting.
Although carpenter ants don’t bite, they pose a different type of threat to your property. Carpenter ants are known to cause extensive damage to wooden property through their burrowing as they try to find a new home inside your furniture.
Signs you have an invasion in your home
It’s effortless to identify a carpenter ants invasion as they leave the evidence everywhere. They will either leave sawdust tracks from their burrowing in wood, make noises as they construct their houses, or spot them moving around the house in such of food and water. These are the main signs that you have an invasion in your house and therefore need to conduct your pest control professional in order to eliminate them.
Carpenter ants will feed on sweet foods and meat once in the house. In this regard, once you suspect of an invasion, you should set up a trap close to these foods.
How to prevent them from invading your house
You can prevent carpenter ants from invading your house using a few tips that won’t require any professional help.
- The very first thing is obviously get rid of any decaying or damaged wood in the house or around it.
- The second thing is to ensure that all leakages are attended to as carpenter ants like areas with water.
- Always try to clean up immediately after eating and thoroughly cleaning the floor as well.
- Try to inspect firewood for any carpenter ants before bringing it to the house.
- Get rid of any damaged wood or stumps laying around your house.
- Always ensure that you seal your food properly.
How to eliminate carpenter ants
Carpenter ants are dangerous insects that can cause damages worth thousands of dollars. In this regard, it is only advisable to eliminate them once you identify the problem in your house.
If the problem is more severe than you can handle, it is always a good idea to contact pest control professionals to handle the task for you. Nevertheless, there are various home remedies recommended for carpenter ants elimination.
The first thing that you need to do is find the nest and destroy it. However, you should be aware that carpenter ants usually make more than one for survival. In this regard, it might be challenging to find all the nests keeping in mind that these creatures are nocturnal and don’t move in groups making it hard to spot them.
Food grade DE, boric acid, ant baits, and insecticides are some of the most common ways used to eliminate carpenter ants. Some all-purpose pesticides can quickly take care of the problem for you even if you aren’t sure it’s a carpenter ants invasion. In case you don’t want to take any chances, using various pest control solutions provided by professionals is the only way to go.